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World Music CD Reviews North American


Published April 7, 2006

Big Easy
Basin Street

New Orleans—the music oozes from the city’s very pores. Everywhere there seems to be a drum beat or brass note in the air. Kermit Ruffins is an exemplar of the New Orleans tradition. He bears the torch Louis Armstrong lit, through big brass bands, even stretching into the future of jazz. On Big Easy, Ruffins, with his gigging band the Barbecue Swingers, mixes raucous struts, celebratory gospel and a cover of War’s “The World Is A Ghetto,” like spicy gumbo. For good measure he dashes in string arrangements and rap while keeping the music true to history. Ruffins has a reputation as a down-home member of the neighborhood, even involving his daughters on the treacly track “Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.”